British television's Channel 5's 'Be a Grand Prix Driver' winner Mark Johnston will make his British racing debut this weekend in front of 50,000 fans at Rockingham Motor Speedway in a 170mph TVR Tuscan run by Insane Racing - the team he gained work experience with as a mechanic.

Mark was selected from 1000 unknown hopefuls during Channel 5's reality TV show designed to unearth a motorsport star of the future. He enjoyed a successful racing debut in the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship at Monza in a 1985 Tyrrell Formula One car recently as part of his prize.

This weekend the 23-year-old from County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, rejoins the team he helped out three years ago and then rejoined for the practical part of his degree in Motorsport Engineering. After a promising test at Castle Combe in the 460bhp TVR, he is hopeful of a strong showing on his debut in the hotly contested one-make series.

"I know the team well from my time with them, and I am really grateful for this opportunity," said Mark. "I'm really looking forward to getting behind the wheel. The TVR Championship is a great place to start my season of racing as the cars just have so much power. It felt like the F1 car at slow speeds, but while the F1 felt glued to the ground at high speeds, this car wants to take off!"

Since winning the Channel 5 series Mark has entered into a tough fitness regime, but he has also found time to enjoy his newly acquired celebrity status. He said: "I managed to get to a couple of race meetings, and it was quite fun being asked for my autograph at a TOCA meeting and have people point and say: 'That's the guy that won the competition!"

For Insane Racing boss Steve Howard it was a proud moment watching Mark climb into his car for the first time. When he took to the track Howard was more than impressed by his former mechanic's turn of speed, as well as his maturity behind the wheel.

"It was kind of a surprise seeing him out there in one of my cars as a driver, after he started out as a spanner man," he said. "But he acquitted himself very well in the test.

"I rate him very highly and the thing about Mark is that he has awesome car control. He came through one corner drifting it at 170mph and I was just waiting for the bang, but he kept it in one piece and that is pretty rare for a rookie! The smile on his face at the end was something to behold, too, and I think he'll have another one on his face after the races this weekend."

Mark will contest both of the TVR Tuscan races at Rockingham, and may go on to complete the season.